Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The poor folks in Japan have been hit with triple disasters; an earthquake, a tsunami and a possible nuclear meltdown. Anyone of these three would have been bad enough, but all three is the perfect storm to create the ultimate disaster. The earthquake is the largest on record in Japan and the tsunami is the disaster that delivered the destructive and crippling blow. Now the damage at a nuclear power plant has the potential of becoming the biggest meltdown of a reactor in history. There have been two other meltdowns, one at Three Mile Island in the US and the other at Chernobyl in Russia. Chernobyl was the worst and has left the site contaminated and an uninhabitable wasteland.

In Japan, four reactors are threatened. If the reactors are not cooled the core will melt and release clouds of dangerous radioactive material such as Radioactive Iodine, Cesium, Strontium, Plutonium and others. Exposure to these agents may be fatal in large amounts and in smaller amounts may cause cancer after a latent period of 20 or more years. The people most threatened by this deadly mixture are those in the near vicinity. If the radioactive material gets into the atmosphere it may be carried for relatively long distances but there is virtually zero danger of it reaching the US even in trace amounts. Those in Tokyo, some 200 miles away. are is some danger, but even there the amounts will probably not be harmful.

Folks on the west coast of the US are, nevertheless, needlessly panicked. They have emptied the shelves of potassium Iodide tablets. This medicine will block the thyroid from taking up Radioactive Iodine and give protection from developing thyroid cancer many year down the pike. That is all the potassium Iodide will do, it will not protect from the other forms of radiation that are a greater problem. The people think the potassium Iodide is going to do the trick for everything. In California they don’t need it or anything else because they aren’t going to get any radiation even with the worse scenario.

The interesting thing today is that our great Surgeon General knew nothing about the run on potassium Iodide in California or anything about a radiation threat. When ask about the situation she said, it’s good to be prepared. That statement only made people try and obtain more of the potassium Iodide.

So, we have a panicked US public about a disaster that poses no threat to them and a Surgeon General who is the greatest threat for the US. It’s back to the porch for refuge and thankful I don’t live near an active fault, the ocean or a nuclear power plant. It’s hard enough dealing with rednecks, the crowd at WalMart, and the traffic on I35.


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